Recycling prices and market commentary: 9 August 2019

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

Recycled plastic trade into Europe slowed a little this week, but orders were still forthcoming as prices continued to rise.

With the plastic PRN/PERN gaining value again, this helped to push up demand. However, UK buyers were a little more reluctant to pay high prices. More below.


Paper grades were relatively solid, but it was quiet out there. Orders were low, and many in the market were on holiday anyway.

Metal prices saw falls for copper and brass, while aluminium increased in prices. Cans were unchanged.

The exchange rate continues to benefit exporters, although there isn’t enough demand for paper grades despite this. Plastic exporters are certainly being helped by the weak pound against the euro, when exporting onto the Continent.

Against the dollar, the pound was unchanged on last week at $1.21. While the pound was trading against the euro at €1.08 – again unchanged on last week.

Recycled plastics

The rising PRN/PERN value helped to push up the price of packaging grades. Demand in particular was coming from European buyers, who were taking advantage of the weak pound and also the PRN/PERN price rise – up to £375 per tonne on last week’s £330.

However, many European buyers were also taking their usual August holidays, so this did suppress recycled plastic trade to an extent.

UK buyers of film were pushing back, not wanting to respond at the same level as their counterparts in Europe.

For UK destinations, 98/2 was trading anywhere between £430 to £500, but into Europe was attracting up to £580 in some circumstances. This is quite a split.

PET and HDPE bottles increased by £10 per tonne, but the demand for both of these isn’t as strong to respond at the same price increase as the PRN/PERN.

One other bit of news concerns Turkey that has increasingly become a key destination for UK material. We understand that authorities have changed the rules on duty. Previously, the duty was paid per container, but is not paid per tonne. This increases the price for exporters there, by about £50 per container at present.

While this may suppress demand a touch, it isn’t expected to make a big dent in Turkish exports, especially with the rising PRN/PERN situation.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

It was a very quiet week in the paper market. Orders were said to be few and far between.

Many had decided to go on holiday, which coincided with demand also being low.

Some tonnage was headed into China, and some into Europe, but not too much domestically.

Europe seems particularly well stocked at the moment, due to buying ahead of the usual August holiday period. With UK mills largely full, and Asian demand low, the outlook remains poor for the rest of August. Don’t be surprised if prices fall a touch over the next couple of weeks.

Indeed, OCC lost a pound this week, and could ease a touch lower. Other grades were stable.

At the moment, the outlook for September looks more positive, but this could be mid- to late-September before that kicks in.

Indonesia also remains an issue, with The Recycling Association writing to its Government over the proposed 0% contamination rules.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Copper fell by £50 per tonne and brass by £25 per tonne this week. However, aluminium grades were up by £50 per tonne.

Can prices saw no change.

Recycling prices

For recycled paper prices, click here

For recycled plastic prices, click here

For recycled metal prices, click here

For recycled glass prices, click here

For PRN/PERN prices, click here

Assisted by Libby Fletcher

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